Monday, March 20, 2006

Another State Weighs In

Victoria and Jeffrey Moermond are spending $11,000 a year to provide health insurance to four employees at their Highland Heights auto repair shop.

But Victoria Moermond said that as that cost continues to rise, she and her husband might soon have to forego that benefit for their workers.

Proponents of a bill pending in the Kentucky General Assembly want to help small business owners like the Moermonds pay for employee health insurance.

The Insurance Coverage, Affordability and Relief to Small Employers program, also known as ICARE, would give companies with two to 25 employees incentive payments of up to $60 per month per employee to continue providing health insurance.

Under the terms of the program, businesses would only be eligible if they have not provided health insurance to employees in the past 12 months or have at least one employee with a high-cost condition such as cancer.

The program also is only open to businesses in which employees' annual salaries don't exceed 300 percent of the poverty level.

The program would require that businesses pay for at least 50 percent of the premium cost and that employees undergo health risk assessments when they sign up.
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